The Public Humanist

Tag Archives | civil rights

Who are “We”?

We know rather little about the life stories of those we call “them”. More worrisome, what we claim to know often reflects a one-size-fits-all set of negative stereotypes that distances us from and reinforces a distrust and fear of those foreign born.

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Herencia Latina

Latina/os in Turners Falls

On Thursday September 17th, around twenty-five people gathered at the Shea Theater in Turners Fall to watch episode six of Latino Americans, the six-hour, 3-part documentary that aired on PBS in spring 2013. Facilitator Mari Castañeda, Ph.D., reflects on the gathering.

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“Cast Your Whole Vote”: Conversations on the American Social Contract

Two days ago I had the honor of moderating the second of this fall’s four Created Equal: Conversations on Negotiating the American Social Contract events. The series of public film and discussion forums is designed to showcase the theme of Mass Humanities’ 40th Anniversary year (Negotiating the Social Contract) and encourage community organizations and cultural institutions to imagine, propose and carry out public humanities projects of their own.

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The Privilege of Grief

It was easier for me to travel across the whole country and claim my partner John’s body than it was for Michael Brown’s mother to cross a few feet of pavement in Ferguson, Missouri.John was killed in a car crash in Montana while I was home in Massachusetts. We are not sure when it happened. Was it late at night or early in the foggy morning? The car went off the road and into an irrigation ditch. It came to a halt upside down in the water, partially obscured by a tree. Much later in the day, someone noticed something odd and called the police.

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Longing for Home

“I don’t want to die too soon.” These words spoken by a young woman, the same age and complexion as Michael Brown, were voiced from a deep and lonely place. As a teenager facing adulthood and entering college, she identified with Brown, who no longer had a future to contemplate. It was gone, taken in a second. Her tomorrow still beckoned, but she recognized, perhaps as never before, that time and choice matter.

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